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Retired Army general says measured response to Syria needed

Posted August 29, 2013

Retired Army Gen. Dan McNeill
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— Retired Gen. Dan McNeill, who commanded coalition forces in Afghanistan, said Thursday that the U.S. needs to tread carefully when dealing with the growing crisis in Syria.

President Barack Obama and U.S. military leaders are weighing military action against Syria, where they say the government has used chemical weapons as it tries to put down an insurgency.

"A chemical event has occurred," McNeill said matter of factly.

Before any strikes, however, the U.S. needs to do its due diligence to determine precisely who's responsible, he said. Also, the U.S. has commercial interests and allies in the region, so it's important to ensure their stability, he said.

"I’m less certain that (military action) would make things a whole lot worse in Syria, but I’m also certain there’s a high probability it would likely make them a lot worse in the region,” he said.

The likely response from the U.S. could involve launching cruise missiles targeting Syrian government facilities, but McNeill said he doesn't think surgical strikes will be enough.

"It occurs to me that you will not have a decisive situation that leads to certain decisive outcomes without boots on the ground," he said. "I'm not advocating boots on the ground. I'm simply saying think this through to its logical outcome."

Former general: Military action could destabilize region

After more than a decade of fighting in the Middle East, he said, he knows that Americans are weary of war.

"We have to establish, clearly, the strategic interests of the United States are at risk or something has occurred that's so morally repugnant we're prepared to go alone," he said.

McNeill urged vigorous debate before escalating the U.S. involvement in Syria.

"There is a moral dimension here that has to be addressed, without question, but let there be adequate debate so we all agree what has occurred and this is what we’re going to do about it,” he said. "I think the Syrians themselves have to effect whatever change they desire in their country."

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  • lopo Sep 3, 2013

    Lets see, we want to bomb Syria for possibly gassing Syrians who hates America been found executing Christians and with close support and connection to Al Quada who we are at war with.
    Please someone explain this concept?

  • btneast Aug 30, 2013

    they couldnt clean up iraq or afghanastan so now they take potshots at what the usa should do in reference to syria.

    Kind of hard to clean up any military action when the politicians are calling every move, what you can and can't shoot at and when.

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Aug 30, 2013

    TMG - "Why waste any men or money in Syria just so a new group of fanatics that hate us can take over?"

    If we keep the skirmishes over there, there will be a chance of fewer of them coming over here.

    That's why we always go THERE to help others.

    That's why we are safer here on our shores than they are on theirs...to keep their problems THERE.

    k

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Aug 30, 2013

    farmer1 - "Flattop the Brits said today they are not going in, at least not yet."

    Yet the French are!

    What an odd world...the Brits are acting like the French usually do, and the French are acting like the Brits usually do.

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Aug 30, 2013

    wildpig777 - "i'd say it is very obvivous he didn't clean up anything..."

    Then you're oblivious.

    Things are far better in Iraq and Afghanistan than they once were, where common people were once afraid to live their lives openly and freely without fearing execution.

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Aug 30, 2013

    I agree with him - act, but act carefully so only those guilty of giving the orders and carrying them out are affected.

    The innocents in that country have already been hurt enough. They don't need us to hurt them more. They need us to help them.

  • wildpig777 Aug 30, 2013

    Is it possible this guy learned some lessons in trying to clean up Iraq and Afghanistan??

    nufsaid
    August 30, 2013 11:40 a.m

    i'd say it is very obvivous he didn't clean up anything.......

  • BernsteinIII Aug 30, 2013

    How about no response? How about letting the U.N. do their job? How about let the Arabs police their own? How about we figure out they hate us in the Middle East and would stab us in the back first chance they got?

  • TooMuchGovt Aug 30, 2013

    Why waste any men or money in Syria just so a new group of fanatics that hate us can take over? Syria is Israels problem. If we must meddle, let's free the poor folks in North Korea; they would be forever grateful and kind to us like South Korea, instead of remaining in the dark ages like the other Arab countries.

  • nufsaid Aug 30, 2013

    "you gotta love these myoptic retired and tired genrals mouthing off thier 2 cents worth on the syrian civil war.

    they couldnt clean up iraq or afghanastan so now they take potshots at what the usa should do in reference to syria.
    wildpig777"

    Is it possible this guy learned some lessons in trying to clean up Iraq and Afghanistan??

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